The ebb and flow of nature can be beautiful. Cool waterfalls cascading off mountain cliffs, bringing life to what lies at its feet. Plants open their leaves and flowers to welcome the morning sun, soaking up its energy and breathing oxygen into our world.
But nature is not always kind, and in the wild beauty can be replaced with a single defining rule – survive. That is what we experienced on the first day of 2018; nature in its rawest form. You could feel the excitement in the truck as we drove through Etosha National Park on a beautiful Namibian morning. Our destination was Kalkheuwel, a watering hole often teeming with wildlife.
Upon arrival, we were immediately welcomed by two lionesses shading under a large Mopane tree aside the watering hole. Groups of impala, kudu, zebra and eland were congregating on the other side of the water, looking warily at the dozy lions between drinks. The guests were happily snapping shots of the wildlife and taking in the epic scene, when a mother warthog trotted into view, with its baby close behind.
This immediately got the attention of one of the lionesses, who slowly lifted her head to gaze at the ignorant mother and child. The next action was so quick, there was no time for pictures or reactions, the lioness already had the baby warthog in its fangs. Screaming and wriggling for dear life, the piglet managed to escape the lionesses jaws. It scurried across the sands, which drew the attention of the second lioness, still lying lazily in the shade, watching the hunt.
She joined her pride sister and flanked the piglet. Together they eventually caught the wounded piglet and finished the hunt. They divided the body between them and begun enjoying their catch.
Looking around the tour truck, I could see the guests’ expressions of joy had turned to dismay and sadness. We drove on, leaving the lionesses to their feast. This was my first experience in nature this year and was a reminder of natures balance. The warthog pup may have died, but those lions can now survive to feed their young and carry on growing their pride.
The wild does not see death as sad, but an opportunity for new life.
Jonathan Lungameni Kuduva